Child collecting water

Food, water and energy issues and business

The world is facing interrelated threats from complex social-ecological and economic systems spanning the food, energy and water 'nexus'. 

Our research in this area considers how companies both drive negative environmental impacts around food, water, energy and climate change, as well as drive potential solutions.

Recent work includes:

  • Rurban Revolution - a new £800,000 project, funded by the Global Food Security Programme with support from BBSRC, ESRC, NERC and The Scottish Government, considering how we could transform UK food production by radically upscaling fruit and veg growing in our towns and cities, and whether urban agriculture would make us, and our environment, healthier. The PI for this project is Dr Jess Davies, and it crosses several Pentland Centre research priorities, including Supply chain sustainability, Soils and sustainable land use, and Sustainable Cities.
  • Soils sit at the food water and climate nexus: they provide the vast majority of our food, filter and store water, and are an important store of carbon in the Earth System. In the Soil-Value project, a £1M Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council fellowship led by Dr Jess Davies, we are developing tools that help us understand and predict how soils deliver food, water and climates benefits, how resilient they are to climate change, and how we can invest in soils to mitigate risks and enhance food, water and climate services.

  • PhD candidate Katre Leino has continued her cutting-edge research in collaboration with a leading sustainability non-profit organisation in the UK (funded by the EU Marie Curie Actions grant under the project ‘Innovation for Sustainability’). Her ethnography of three collaborative cross-sector, multi-stakeholder platforms, brought together diverse organisations to tackle ‘wicked’ problems in sustainable development.
  • The Pentland Centre is also acting as a Lancaster-based Nexus research hub, coordinating a discussion group across Lancaster University and engaging with leading initiatives within the UK-based Nexus Network.

Key researchers: Dr Jess Davies, Dr Lingxuan Liu, Professor Gail Whiteman, Katre Leino